The spaceship-like California HQ that British starchitect Norman Foster designed for Apple is still a few lightyears away, but the next best thing just landed in Istanbul: the first Apple store by Foster + Partners. In the wake of Apple commissioning the firm for the mothership—which is said to have started with Steve Jobs cold-calling Foster with a simple "Hi Norman, I need some help"—it's been reported that the London-based practice would also be taking over the design of Apple's glassy, Genius-filled retail locations. Could this one be the rebuttal the charge, leveled by the designer of the original Apple Store concept, that the company's retail presence is "not evolving as fast as it could be"?
Like NYC's Fifth Avenue Apple Store, this one sits underground but is signaled at street level by a frameless transparent box. This one's glassy hat isn't totally see-through, though; it's got a ceiling that, seen from the upper levels of Istanbul's Zorlu shopping center, looks like the top of a MacBook, a silvery field with the silhouette of an apple in the middle. The two submerged stories of retail space were built in an area that was originally planned as a descending water feature at the center of the plaza.
Chez Apple Istanbul comes after Apple's successful bid to trademark the "distinctive design and layout" of its retail spaces, ensuring that all-glass storefronts and long rectangular tables would remain the company's trademark. Meanwhile, another Foster-designed Apple Store, this one in San Francisco's Union Square, has been approved following a few tweaks.